Maguire hangs tough as Meadow struggles at KPMG Women’s PGA

John Craven

Leona Maguire in action on day one at Aronimink Golf Club (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

John Craven

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It wasn’t the start Leona Maguire was hoping for but the plucky Cavan professional hung tough to remain in touch with the leaders after day one at a windy KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

It was going relatively smooth for Maguire who reached the turn in one-over after trading two birdies with three bogeys before a double-bogey 6 on 10 was followed by a bogey on 11.

At four-over par, the round could’ve easily got away from the former world amateur number one but a run of pars settled Maguire down before she picked up a vital birdie at the last.

All-told, she signed for a three-over par round of 73 to be currently sharing 55th but with the leaders at three-under par, that’s just six strokes adrift ahead of Friday’s second for someone who’s been getting better as tournaments go along of late.

“I’ve been getting better as I go along in tournaments which is nice but I need to work out those first couple of days, get myself a little higher up on the leaderboard and put myself in position going into the weekend,” said Maguire pre-tournament.

The 25-year old hit 11 of 14 fairways on day one and 11 of 18 greens while she needed 31 putts. Maguire enters the tournament off the back of her best ever Major finish, a tied-18th result at last week’s ANA.

Unfortunately the news wasn’t so good for Stephanie Meadow who faces a stiff uphill battle to make the weekend cut.

Starting on the back nine, the Jordanstown professional carded three bogeys to the turn and dropped another on the first, her 10th. A birdie at her 12th hole proved her first and only of the day before a run of three bogeys and a double in her last six holes saw Meadow sign for an eight-over par round of 78.

She shares 120th place ahead of round two after hitting just 8 of 18 greens in regulation and needing 33 putts.

Leading the way at a windy Aronimink Golf Club are Brittany Lincicome and Kelly Tan who each shot three-under par rounds of 67 on Thursday to share top spot in the year’s third Major.

Lincicome was sensational after missing the cut by one shot this past weekend at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

“I’ve had so much time off since having Emery [her 16-month old daughter] and taking time off and COVID,” she said. “Each week it’s just kind of been let’s make the cut, let’s make the cut, and that’s not a way an eight-time winner should play golf.”

Lincicome, a two-time winner of the ANA Inspiration with eight LPGA Tour victories, played bogey-free to stay even with Tan and keep her first Women’s PGA title in sight.

The 35-year-old Florida player is trying to win for the first since having a baby last July. One of the biggest hitters on the tour, she found her groove at 6,577-yard Aronimink, missing only one green.

“I never tried to swing hard with the driver off the tee today,” she said. “I was just literally, `Get it in the fairway and then worry about the next shot.’ And then on the green, aiming in very specific spots.”

Danielle Kang, Lydia Ko, Gabby Lopez, Carlota Ciganda, Linnea Strom and Cydney Clanton were a stroke further back.

Full scoring HERE

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